Words, when hitched to a good tune, were what turned me into a music nut and I admire songcraft above almost anything in this world. This is not to say I don’t like a good groove – of course I do, and the stack of King Sunny Ade LPs currently on rotation to celebrate the summer sunshine proves it, because I still don’t understand a word of Yoruba.
Story songs in particular hold a special place in my heart. I blame Bob Dylan. My wife blames Bob Dylan too... for just about everything. I bought my first copy of Blood on the Tracks when I was fifteen, having been captivated by the narrative of Tangled Up in Blue, which I’d heard on the radio one dismal Sunday afternoon. Each of the album’s tracks was like a mini movie, from the unspooling western of Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts to Simple Twist of Fate which, people say, recounts the story of Dylan’s love affair with Joan Baez. It’s